World Earth Day: Past 8 Years Hottest In Recorded History, 1 Million Species At Risk Of Extinction, Says UN

The World Earth Day is observed on April 22 every year. The first World Earth Day was observed in 1970 in the United States.

Extreme climatic events, such as last year's Pakistan floods, have got more frequent lately.

The United Nations on the occassion of World Earth Day noted in a report that the past eight years have been the hottest in record history.

The UN also said that 1 million species are currently at the risk of extinction as climate change threatens biodiversity in the world. 

The World Earth Day is observed every year on April 22. The day was marked by a report titled State of the Global Climate in 2022 by World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN agency for weather, climate, and water. 

Among the other things, the WMO report says record greenhouse gas-levels are causing changes in every sphere of environment. 

"WMO latest State of the Global Climate report shows that the last eight years were the eight warmest on record, and that sea level rise and ocean warming hit new highs. Record levels of greenhouse gases caused 'planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere'," said UN in a release. 

Here we explain what the UN report says, what the World Earth Day is, and what the UN proposes to be done on climate change. 

What is World Earth Day?

The World Earth Day is observed on April 22 every year. The first World Earth Day was observed in 1970 in the United States. 

Senator Gaylord Nelson was a key figure in promoting the Earth Day at the time.

The Library of Congress notes, "Earth Day was first observed on April 22, 1970, when an estimated 20 million people nationwide attended the inaugural events at tens of thousands of sites including elementary and secondary schools, universities, and community sites across the United States. Senator Gaylord Nelson promoted Earth Day, calling upon students to fight for environmental causes and oppose environmental degradation with the same energy that they displayed in opposing the Vietnam War."

The objective of the World Earth Day is to promote environmental protectionism. It is currently observed in over 190 countries and witnesses participation of over 1 billion people. 

The World Earth Day movement is credited with leading to an increase in funding to green efforts, increased environmental literacy, and coming up of environment-related laws.

"Earth Day 1970 led to the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many countries soon adopted similar laws, and in 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day to sign the Paris Climate Agreement into force," notes EarthDay.Org, which coordinates the movement. 

Past 8 years hottest ever: UN report

The WMO, the UN agency for weather, climate, and water, in its State of the Global Climate report said that the period of 2015-22 was the hottest since tracking began in 1850.

The WMO also reported that "massively scaled-up investments" for anti-climate change efforts are required, noted the UN release.

The UN release said, "The organization says its report, released ahead of this year’s Mother Earth Day, echoes UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for 'deeper, faster emissions cuts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius', as well as 'massively scaled-up investments in adaptation and resilience, particularly for the most vulnerable countries and communities who have done the least to cause the crisis'," said the release. 

WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas also listed the recent climate disasters that highlight the gravity of climate change crisis. He said that 
"populations worldwide continue to be gravely impacted by extreme weather and climate events" and stressed that last year, "continuous drought in East Africa, record breaking rainfall in Pakistan and record-breaking heatwaves in China and Europe affected tens of millions, drove food insecurity, boosted mass migration, and cost billions of dollars in loss and damage".

The report further noted that "Antarctic sea ice fell to its lowest extent on record and the melting of some European glaciers was, literally, off the charts".

On World Earth Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres also spoke of the threat to biodiversity.

"In his message on Earth Day, UN chief Mr. Guterres warned that 'biodiversity is collapsing as one million species teeter on the brink of extinction', and called on the world to end its 'relentless and senseless wars on nature', insisting that 'we have the tools, the knowledge, and the solutions' to address climate change," said the UN release.